Death of Print Advertising?

Woman's Eye and World Globes

Sometime back in 2010 I made a prediction: that online adverts would exceed print revenue in Canada around 2014/2015. Yes, it was after the 2nd (or 3rd?) carefully crafted and potent micro-brewed IPA on a sunny bar patio, talking about the future of media with some publishers and journalists – and yes, I did agree with those in print media that, while measurable, online advertising across so many web, social media and mobile platforms was so scattered the dominance of print as the advertisers’ choice of medium was in little danger of immediate demise.

Online Advertising - One Way To Go

Online Advertising – One Way To Go

That despite even in 2009/2010 statistics were clearly indicating Canadians were among the world’s leading participators in social media, blogging and users of media websites, and (even more telling) the harsh downturn in print production across the spectrum – newspapers and magazines especially following the 2008 economic crisis. Canadians were, and still are flowing online, but, up to now, the advertising dollars were not. In dealing with business clients, and despite sometimes many hours of displaying credible and achievable metrics using online and social media advertising – the markers not even imagined through radio, TV or print – many, and thankfully not all, still say ‘we are going with the proven’.

That may change with the latest statistics from The Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada (IAB), which released a summary of advertising spend in Canada for the previous year. For the first time, (and I believe for any G8 country) online advertising revenue has beat all but TV for the Canadian market – that is a huge change, where even a year ago online advertising revenues still fell far below legacy media.

Where is the Advert Money Going?

Most online advertising campaigns are still within the realm of ‘search’ – and by that, read, Google.

via Techvibes: – Search advertising continues to lead in terms of share of dollars booked by Online Publishers ($907 million/41%), followed by Display ($688 million/31%) and Classifieds ($587 million/26%). Together, these three advertising vehicles represent 98% of all Online advertising booked in Canada.

Highlights from the Report (Download)

Online Advertising Growth as Compared to Growth in Other Media
In 2010, Online ad revenues surpassed Daily Newspaper ad revenues. As a result, the Internet is now second only to Television in terms of share of total Canadian media advertising revenue (15.9%). Online advertising’s 23% increase from 2009 to 2010 also bested other major media, all but one experiencing only single-digit growth rates during this time.

Online Revenue Share Vs. All-Media: Canada/US/UK
Canada’s Online advertising market, with a 15.9% share of total domestic advertising revenue in 2010, has for the first time slightly outperformed the US, at 15.4%. In the UK, Online has 80-85% greater share than in either Canada or the US, respectively, at 28.7% of total advertising revenue.

Educating the advertising industry about Digital media will continue to unlock incremental revenue for the sector. However, recruitment and retention of experienced and high-functioning human resources at reasonable salary rates, remains a major challenge in capitalizing on this trend for both Agencies and Publishers/Ad Networks within the Digital industry in Canada.

The final paragraph in the quote is telling – advertisers, PR companies and yes, even us in brand marketing have been slow, or unable to convince. Yet, simply by default, Canada is leading the world in moving from a legacy media advertising market to online.

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Discussion2 Comments

  • Chris Whiteley Aug 14, 2011 

    One of the things that could help keep print advertising alive for a bit longer would be the use of QR codes. This in effect can tie print advertising to an online campaign, however I rarely see any print advertisers doing this effectively.

    So many times I will see a magazine ad where they have a ‘Find us on Facebook” with no QR, let alone a URL to make it easier to “find them on Facebook.” I just don’t see how putting a Facebook or Twitter icon on a print ad is effective.

    Print advertising needs to become a bit “smarter” if it is to continue competing with its online counterparts.

    Reply
    • Mat Wright Aug 14, 2011 

      Chris – a very good point. The issue of cross-over integration of print/web/social media is, at least in Canada, there are very few good all round creative agencies that think along those lines. Businesses still source graphic designers for print, a separate company for the web and often a third for social media – and they most often do not sit down together with the client to create an overall advertising plan.

      Reply

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